The Bank of Ghana (BoG) has urged the Committee for Co-operation between Law Enforcement Agencies and the Banking Community (COCLAB) to work together to speed up investigations and prosecutions for financial crimes, that led to the failure and demise of 420 of its regulated institutions.
According to the BoG, this brought untold hardships to depositors, former employees, other creditors, and ultimately, tax payers, that had to pay to provide relief for those affected.
In her opening remarks at a COCLAB workshop in Accra, Mrs. Elsie Addo Awadzi, Second Deputy Governor of the Bank of Ghana, underscored that combatting financial crime through information sharing and strategies, to help prevent financial crime and working closely together to investigate and enforce breaches of relevant rules against perpetrators of financial crime and their enablers, is essential to building a healthy and resilient economy and nation.
Mrs. Elsie Addo Awadzi emphasized that financial crime in all its forms including money laundering, terrorist financing, fraud (whether through offline or cyber related), siphoning and diversion of funds from the financial system by insiders to related parties among others, erode the integrity of “our financial system and destroys the confidence and trust that the Ghanaian public and our foreign counterparts repose in it”.
“This has adverse ramifications for our economy, such as a reduction in the rate of savings and investments in the formal financial system, a reduction in international trade facilities and foreign investment inflows that support our economy”.Mrs. Elsie Addo Awadzi
Key on the Committee’s agenda for the meeting was to discuss Bank of Ghana’s recently published 2021 Fraud Report, which highlighted a disturbing prevalence of fraud in the banking sector, as reported by banks and other regulated institutions.
The Second Deputy Governor of the Bank of Ghana noted that it is very disturbing that most of the reported cases of fraud involve staff and contractors of these financial institutions. Another worrying trend from the 2021 fraud report, she said, is the increasing levels of fraud associated with electronic money channels such as ATM fraud, mobile money fraud, and cyber fraud.
“Members of COCLAB, I urge you to take a critical look at these developments and identify concrete measures to help to address the underlying factors, so that we reverse the trends”.Mrs. Elsie Addo Awadzi
Support to sanitize the forex bureau sector
Mrs. Elsie Addo Awadzi “strongly appealed” to members of COCLAB to support Bank of Ghana’s efforts to sanitize the forex bureau sector, by strictly enforcing existing rules for the fair and transparent conduct of business by licensed forex bureaus, and by clamping down on illegal forex operations.
“While Bank of Ghana regulates the sector, it relies on criminal investigative and law enforcement agencies (all of which are members of COCLAB) to help with enforcement efforts. We count on your cooperation especially now more than ever to help restore order and fair pricing to promote the Ghana cedi’s stability”.Mrs. Elsie Addo Awadzi
She used the opportunity to encourage members of COCLAB to step up collaborations and efforts to support “our national economic development efforts so that together we build a strong and resilient economy and nation, not only for today but for posterity”.
The formation of COCLAB in Ghana was spearheaded by Bank of Ghana, building on INTERPOL’s 1988 Resolution, to help curb economic crime around the world. Bank of Ghana recently revived the Committee to provide a platform for strong collaboration among the banking industry, national security and law enforcement agencies; the Judiciary, and other key Agencies, to step up the fight against financial crime.